Religion News Selection

December 20 – 27, 2020

A selection of religion news stories from Australia

(Research: Greg Spearritt)



Catholic Church’s insurance company in financial trouble over abuse payouts (The Age, Melbourne)
Dec 23 – The Catholic Church’s private insurer spent more than $58 million paying out the victims of sexual abuse last year and the company is being forced to raise fresh capital and liquidate investments to cover a future compensation bill worth at least another $238 million.

Brother Bede’s ‘supernatural calling’ to become Tasmania’s first Benedictine monk (ABC News)
Dec 27 – In a move unfathomable to many young men, in a few weeks Brother Bede will commit his life to God — becoming the first at his rural Tasmanian monastery to become a fully fledged monk.

Catholic Church

Vatican’s sci-fi nativity scene snubbed by Pope Francis (Brisbane Times)
Dec 21 – Vatican City: Pope Francis on Sunday, local time, appeared to add his own thumbs-down to widespread criticism of an unorthodox nativity scene in St Peter’s Square, telling visitors to instead visit a nearby exhibition of traditional mangers.

Pope approves vaccines linked to abortion cell lines (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 23 – Vatican City: The Vatican has declared that it is “morally acceptable” for Roman Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccines based on research that used cells derived from aborted fetuses.

In Christmas message curbed by COVID-19, Pope calls on nations to share vaccines (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 26 – Vatican City: Pope Francis in his Christmas message said political and business leaders must not allow market forces and patent laws to take priority over making COVID-19 vaccines available to all, condemning nationalism and “the virus of radical individualism”.


Holocaust survivor Anita Lasker-Wallfisch: ‘No memorial can come anywhere near what happened’ (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 27 – The cellist believes that plans for a UK Holocaust memorial are ‘counter-productive’.


John Rawls: can liberalism’s great philosopher come to the west’s rescue again? (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 21 – In the extraordinary aftermath of the American presidential election, as Donald Trump set about de-legitimising the country’s democratic process in order to stay in power, a timely investigation was published in a New York-based cultural magazine.

How the Kama Sutra and colonial legacy still impact the sexuality of young Hindus today (ABC News)
Dec 27 – When lawyer-turned-fashion designer Lokesh Kashyap came out to his parents as bisexual, he was met with two types of confusion.


Fred Nile locked out of party headquarters as internal fight heats up (Sydney Morning Herald)
Dec 23 – A Supreme Court judge has questioned whether Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party should be wound up as an ongoing legal dispute resulted in locks being changed at the party’s state headquarters, keeping out Mr Nile and his co-defendants.


As churches prove ‘fertile ground’ for conspiracy theories, some pastors are taking a stand (ABC News)
Dec 23 – During the whirlwind of 2020, Sydney reverend and radio host Bill Crews has noticed a surge in an old foe within his flock — conspiracy theories.

I was in my tweens when my mother told me Santa wasn’t real. And then my world ended (The Guardian, Australia)
Dec 24 – (Opinion: Matilda Boseley) I think everyone remembers the first truly shocking moment in their lives.